Charcuterie are foodstuffs based on cured or cooked meat, with the addition of salt, herbs, and spices and possibly other ingredients and preservatives. If they are enclosed within a skin they are called sausage (the casing is traditionally the intestine of the same animal or of calf, but today synthetic materials are also used). They are conserved in various ways: air-dried, cooked, cured, smoked, or after special braising in the case of mortadella.

Charcuterie originated in response to the need, right from the dawn of civilization, to conserve meat by smoking and curing, and above all by skilful salting as testified in the etymology of the name “salami”. In ancient times meat preserved with salt was called “salùmina”. The Romans were great consumers of charcuterie, especially salami, importing it from Gaul, and Etruria on the Po plain, the current Emilia-Romagna, which as a consequence of the invasion of the Boii Gauls was specialized in this production.